NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is searching for a rental car driver who ran off after crashing into a church van in Queens.
According to investigators, the driver of the 2016 Ford rental car blew through a stop sign and struck a 2000 Dodge van on Shore Avenue and Princeton Street in Jamaica at around 11 p.m. Friday night.
“A loud boom, the car was in the air… I came outside, it was smoking,” witness Kevin Young told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
Police believe the car was a rental and was stolen a few blocks away. They said the driver barreled through a stop sign and hit a church van with such force that it flipped.
Immediately after, the crash investigators said the driver got out and ran.
Members of the Hope NYC church told CBS2 youth pastor David Evans and his pregnant wife Shenae were travelling home after a church service with a family member, her 3-month-old and three-year-old. A teenager was also riding in the van.
“They had one person left to drop off when the accident happened,” congregation member Jodi Brown said.
That’s when police said the speeding vehicle slammed into the van, upending it into a parked car.
The remnants of the crash are left at the intersection, but thankfully those people inside of the van were able to go home with minor injuries.
“I can’t believe that because the car was like totaled,” Young said.
Members of the church believe divine intervention spared the passengers.
“No scratch, no injuries, no broken bones. Thank God for protecting them. Everyone is okay,” Ruth Archibald, a member of the congregation, said.
Police are still searching for the driver of the car who ran off, leaving the vehicle and the crash victims at the scene.